Spotlight: Rafiq Bhatia

Guitar wizards David Torn, Bill Frisell, Anthony Pirog, and Mary Halvorson all performed at the 2019 Big Ears Festival, but it was the Friday night performance by Rafiq Bhatia and his band that stole the show https://www.guitarmoderne.com/artists/big-ears-2019. Under lockdown in Brooklyn, Bhatia participated in a performance for the New York’s National Sawdust arts organization. That is presented here, followed by a video interview in which Bhatia reveals that all in the video is not as it seems.

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Big Ears 2019

As advertised, Big Ears 2019 was a guitar extravaganza. My wife Liz and I were able to see Bill Frisell, David Torn, Mary Halvorson, Anthony Pirog, and Rafiq Bhatia, some of them multiple times, as well as other, non-guitar improvising legends and newcomers. Once again, venues like the Tennessee Theater, The Bijou Theater, The Standard, and The Mill and the Mine offered stellar sound quality and sight lines, and the local food was fabulous.

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Guitar Moderne Top 10 Records of 2018

I am heartened by how it gets harder and harder to pick the best of the year. It means that there are more and more great records of modern guitar being issued all the time. This year was made a little easier by the fact that veteran masters like David Torn, Henry Kaiser, Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, and Eivind Aarset all appeared on one or more records. The list is rounded out by younger players like Julian Lage, Max Kutner, and Anthony Pirog, as well as the introduction of new faces: Justus West, Rafiq Bhatia, and Igor Osypov.

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